The Basics

Background on PMA

PMA represents the world’s leading maritime companies operating on the West Coast, consisting of 70 ocean carriers and terminal operators. On behalf of its member companies, PMA negotiates and administers the coastwise maritime labor agreement with the ILWU.

Background on the ILWU

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union represents waterfront employees throughout the West Coast. More than 16,850 ILWU members – including longshore workers, clerks, and foremen – are employed at West Coast ports.

West Coast Waterfront

Comprising 29 ports from San Diego to Bellingham, Washington, the West Coast waterfront serves as a vital gateway between the U.S. and Asia. These ports are essential to the stability and growth of the U.S. economy, supporting consumer, industrial, and agricultural sectors throughout the country. At the state level, West Coast ports play a significant economic role in California, Oregon and Washington.

Economic Significance of West Coast Ports

As the preeminent gateway between the U.S. and Asia, the 29 West Coast ports are a powerful economic engine, processing about one million tons of cargo each day. The impact extends far beyond the docks: West Coast port activity supports nearly 12.5 million jobs nationwide and accounts for nearly 9% of U.S. GDP.

Coastwise Contract

The coastwise contract between PMA and the ILWU covers wages, benefits, and employment conditions for workers at West Coast ports. After 13 months of negotiations, PMA and the ILWU agreed to a new 6-year contract in June 2023. The contract is retroactive by one year, and will remain in effect until July 1, 2028.

By the Numbers